12 October 2016

US election manifesto

Here’s my pre-election position statement and argument. The TL;DR is that I’m absolutely not going to get angry at anyone who decides to vote third party, but I think that’s a terrible strategic mistake for this specific election, and I would like to explain why. The system is bent Let me start out by saying that I was a third party voter for years. In the UK, I routinely voted for the Liberal Democrats. ... Read more

5 October 2016

Go home, Google, you’re Pixilated

Google announced its new Pixel phones. They’re priced like iPhones (starting at $649), but will only get 2 years of software updates. Meanwhile, the new Android features Google showed at the event are not going to be made available to existing Nexus phone owners — they’re being kept exclusive to Pixel. And there won’t be any more Nexus phones. So, if you want an Android phone with regular security updates and no bloatware, you now have to pay iPhone prices. ... Read more

2 October 2016

E-readers vs paper books

Kretzschmar et al. did a study in 2013 that compared reading effort on three different media: a paper page, an e-reader (e-ink) and a tablet computer. They studied eye movement, brain activity and reading speed. The participants also answered a few questions to determine reading comprehension. The interesting thing was that all participants said that they preferred reading on paper, even though the study found no support for it being more effortful to read on digital media. ... Read more

11 August 2016

Off my trolley problem

People interested in self-driving cars keep discussing the “trolley problem” — that is, in the event of an imminent accident, how should the car decide who gets to live, and who dies? The problem is, ethics is a really tricky area of philosophy. So I have A Modest Proposal: Technology can enable a free market solution instead. Each passenger in a vehicle or pedestrian with a smartphone can place accident compensation funds in escrow, and be issued a digital certificate stating the amount. ... Read more

10 August 2016

Captain’s log

I woke up to a faint buzzing noise and the voice of the suit computer telling me that the life support systems were online. A bright sun shone through my visor as the computer continued its restart routine. I got up and looked around the landscape. It didn’t look good. My Rasamama S36 scout ship was a few meters away in the middle of a plain of what looked at first glance like assorted crash debris. ... Read more

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